Now that my weekly Mid-November to April Tuesday Bangor Daily News sports page “Off the Rim” basketball column is over for the year it is time to get back to my Bangor Daily News Basketball Blog.
So here goes my first Blog of 2017:
After watching at least 7 games in the men’s NCAA’s “Big Dance” having teams not foul when their on defense, up 3 points, and under 7 seconds to go in the game, the best coached team in the tournament showed why he is the best coach in the country this year in D-1 college hoops as Gonzaga’s Mark Few had his team foul in that same situation the other teams found themselves in and did not foul.
By not fouling all of the teams that were allowed to shoot a three got good looks but missed. Only 1 team made the three to tie the game. So some or maybe many would say that is was smart not to foul as most coaches do not believe in fouling in this situation.
However, by not fouling the defensive teams gave their opponents a chance to tie the game by not fouling and allowing the team to get off the potential tying three point shot.
So Few’s team fouled with under 7 seconds to go and that set the stage for them to winning their way into Monday’s night Championship game.
Here’s what happened. Gonzaga lead 75-72 and after fouling (important not to foul a 3 point shooter who could tie the game if he made all 3 of his foul shots) at the 3.5 second mark to go in the game. South Carolina made the first shot to cut the lead to 75-73. Then they missed the second free throw in an attempt to get the offensive rebound and tie or win the game with a 2 or 3 pointer. However, the plan did not work as Gonzaga got the purposedly missed foul shot and immediately the rebounder was fouled with under 2 seconds to go. He calmly went to the foul line and made both shots to ice the game 77-73.
Coach Few in an interview after the game said that he has always believed in fouling especially under the 6 second mark. They actually practice this situation in practice to prepare for it when it arises in game situations. The key being to try to foul the dribbler. Then on the intentionally missed 2nd foul shot to block out properly along the lane spaces to make sure that they get the rebound.
By fouling in that situation, it forces the team behind to do 4 things.
1. Make the first foul shot
2. Miss the second shot intentionally
4. Get the offensive rebound
4. And then make the tying 2 pointer or a winning 3 pointer
IN ALL THE TIMES I HAVE SEEN THIS SITUATION AT THE HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE OR PROFESSIONAL LEVELS HAVE I NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER SEEN THE FOULING TEAM EVER TIED UP WITH A 2 POINTER OR LOSE BY AN OPPONENTS 3 POINTER. BUT I HAVE SEEN MANY GAMES TIED UP BY LETTING THE TEAM BEHIND SHOOT AND MAKE A THREE TO TIE THE GAME AND SEND THE GAME TO OVERTIME. QUITE A FEW OF THOSE TIMES THE TEAM THAT ALLOWED THE THREE LOST THE GAME IN OVERTIME.
Mark Few showed why he should be the ‘coach of the year” this season by having his 37-1 Gonzaga Bulldogs team do the right thing at the right time in the game in their 4 point 77-73 win over the upset minded 7th seeded South Carolina Gamecocks.
Regardless of the outcome of their Championship game Monday night against another number 1 seed, the North Carolina Tar Heels, who were a 1 point 77-76 winner over the Oregon Ducks he is my NCAA D-1 Coach of the Year.
Those other coaches who didn’t have their teams foul in this situation along with all the other coaches at all levels of the game that don’t also foul should take a lesson from MARK FEW and foul in that situation the next time they find themselves on defense, up 3 with under 7 seconds to go and to FOUL, FOUL, FOUL, FOUL!!!!!!!!!!!